Children must learn to swim. Formal swimming lessons are important to prevent drowning and keep your family safe around the water. But, not all swimming lessons are considered equal. Parents are encouraged to carefully consider which program is best for their child. After all, swimming lessons are about more than simply having fun in the water. Children need to learn how to swim and survive in the water as the foundation to safely enjoy water activities. Some swim programs teach activities that are actually not beneficial to the learning process. Some of these include:
No matter which swimming lesson program you choose for your child, remember these tips to ensure your family is prepared to safely enjoy the water.
- Blowing Bubbles. This is not only incorrect, but can also be dangerous. Children who are taught to blow air bubbles underwater sacrifice precious air that can make a difference in an emergency. The theory is that blowing bubbles to release air keeps children from inhaling water (aspirating). The reality is that in healthy child the body automatically protects itself from water going into the lungs. The epiglottis, a flap at the back of the throat, is designed to divert anything more dense than air to the stomach and away from the lungs. By teaching this the bubble blowing technique, it can actually create a dangerous situation for the child. Within approximately 2 minutes of submersion a child can lose consciousness and it only takes four to six minutes before permanent brain damage can occur. Every second is valuable. Teach your child first to hold his or her breath when going underwater. A professional swim instructor should be able to do this without blowing in a child’s face or counting. Your child needs to learn to respond to the natural environment instead of a person. You may not always be there.
- Using Noodles and Kick Boards. Despite the fact that most swimming programs advise against children using flotation devices, many continue to teach basic swimming lessons with noodles and kickboards. Floatation devices provide children with a false sense of security and confidence in the water. Even when using them for their intended purpose of isolating kicking skill, they still promote head up posture which is less effective in swimming progression. Kickboards and noodles should be used only for their original intent, which is to isolate the kicking skill for children who are more advanced in their swimming and have the skills to survive if the apparatus were to accidentally slip away.
- Bobbing. Though it seems fun to pop in and out of the water, bobbing teaches children that air is available only when standing up. Unfortunately, most children who fall into the water alone cannot touch the pool or ground with their feet. Struggling to maintain a vertical position can also cause a child’s body to be pulled under the water more quickly. Instead, children should first learn to float in the water, and then progress to learn to swim with their face down and rollback to float when they need to take a breath. The swim-float-swim survival sequence helps children more effectively rescue themselves in an emergency.
- Lifting the Head for Air. Children become exhausted trying to continually swim and lift their head for air. Teaching a child to rollback to float is the most effective approach to helping them get air in the water. The back float posture provides children with rest and unlimited access to air until they can swim to the edge of the water or be rescued. Many swim programs claim to teach children how to float but then skip teaching the child how to get there from a swimming posture. Make sure the program you choose teaches not only the float but how to get attain it and maintain it.
- Wearing Goggles. Sometimes the protection goggles provide can lead children to believe they won’t be able to see in the water without their goggles. Children who swim with their eyes closed often incur collision injuries with other children or walls. Children who fall into the water need to see the way out of the water to survive. Only provide your children with goggles for play or advanced swimming once the child can confidently swim underwater without them.
Shallow Water Blackout: How It Happens
Teens often play a game to see who can hold their breath the longest. This can be a dangerous game and shallow water blackout can happen to even the most fit individual. People who hold their breath while swimming or practicing holing their breath underwater are at risk for passing out from a lack of oxygen. Please read more at shallowwaterblackout. People who hold their breath while swimming or practicing breath-holding underwater in pools are at risk of “passing out” due to lack of oxygen. Please read more at shallowwaterblackoutprevention.org
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I've heard it said many times that the "days are long, but the year are short". I have to admit that I've only recently started to understand what that means because honestly I really believed that some of those long, trying, exhausting days would never end. I am seeing it come true. My girls are growing up so fast. I mean, a middle schooler, REALLY? It doesn't even seem possible. I watched this and it really did ring true and I though I would share it with my fellow moms. Many of you are still in the midst of those seemingly endless days. This put a smile on my face. I hope it does yours as well.
Your opinion of YOU is what’s important. – Most of the good things you do will go unnoticed by others. Do them anyway, because you will notice. Many of the contributions you make will not be fully realized by others. Make them anyway, because you realize they are the right things to do. It’s great when you receive recognition for the things you do, yet even when there is no possibility of recognition, YOU still recognize the reasons you are putting forth the effort. Your honest, authentic view of yourself influences all that you do. And that view is formed mainly during times when no one is watching. Your life is a living expression of who you know yourself to be, regardless of what others think or see.
It’s OK to let some people walk away. – You don’t have control over the things people say about you, but you do have control over how you decide to internalize it. Leave people to their opinions and judgments. Let them love you for who you are, and not for who they want you to be. Or let them walk away if they choose. They can’t harm you either way; it’s their understanding that is faulty, not yours.
Challenges are simply opportunities. – When you encounter resistance, it means you are moving forward. When you come across a challenge, it means you have reached an opportunity for growth. Life becomes more rewarding as it becomes more demanding. Each new challenge is an opportunity to stretch beyond your previous limits. Most of the advantages you enjoy today were born in the difficulties through which you once traveled. So revel in the beauty of each challenging effort. Give your best to life, and life will return the favor many times over.
There’s a lot to appreciate in this moment. – Your journey will be much lighter and easier if you don’t try to carry your entire past and future around with you. Take a break. Let go of your obsession with yesterday’s struggles and tomorrow’s to-do list, and simply enjoy the beauty of what’s right here, right now. Sometimes you have to stop thinking that some new richness will fulfill you, so you can fully experience the richness that's already yours.
SCIENTIFIC BENEFITS OF BABY SWIM LESSONS
by Lana Whitehead SWIMkids USA #1 REDUCES THE RISK OF DROWNING
# 2 BOOSTS DEVELOPMENT OF WHOLE CHILD
- A case-controlled study conducted by Ruth Brenner and her colleagues discovered that participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drownung by 88% among children aged one to four years. The authors concluded that swimming lessons "should be considered for inclusion as part of a complete prevention program." In a case-controlled study in rural China, Dr. L. Yang and his associates reported a 40% reduction in drowning risk in open bodies of water for children participating in formal swimming lessons."
- In a case-controlled study in rural China,Dr. L. Yang and associates reported a 40% reduction in drowning risk in open bodies of water for children participating in in formal swimming lessons.
#3 IMPROVES MOTOR DEVELOPMENT
- Scientific studies at the German Sports College Cologne have shown that early year round swimming lessons for young children accelerated their development physically, intellectually and emotionally.
- As compared with a control group which did not take year-round lessons, the children who swam consistently from infancy were significantly stronger and and more coordinated.
- The children scored higher for intelligence and problem solving, which carried over into excellence in academic achievement.
- Emotionally, they were found to have more self-discipline, greater self-control and an increased desire to succseed.
- They rated higher in self-esteem and were more independent and comfortable in social situations than the control groups.
#4 ACCELERATES COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT
- Studies conducted at Norwegian University of Science and Technology with Dr. Hermundur Sigmundsson and his colleagues found baby swimmers developed better balance, movement and grasping techniques than non-swimmers. This difference persisted even when the children were five years old; the baby swimmers still outperformed their peers in these skills.
- Zelazo and Weiss reported that baby swimmers made "considerable gains in movement required for for turning 180 degrees and reaching for a wall (underwater) for the 16 to 20 month old children." The researchers concluded buoyancy most likely boosted the infant's motor development.
#5 INCREASES MEMORY CAPACITY
- Starting in 2009, Griffith University embarked on a large, 4 year Early Years Swimming Research Project with 45 swim schools Australia, New Zealand and the United States, the largest study of its kind.
- The preliminary results show that children under the age of 5 involved in swimming lessons are more advanced in their cognitive and physical development than their non-swimming peers.
- The results show minor benifits to social and language development.
- In 20011, researchers in Melbourne reported intellectual and physical benefits form early swim lessons.
- The scientist determined children who were taught to swim by 5 years of age had statistically higher IQs.
- The research also showed that moving in high water resistance strenghtened the children's muscles more rapidly than playing on the floor because swimming activates more large muscle groups.
# 6 EXPANDS CEREBRAL COMMUNICATION
- Recent studies have shown the amount of a person's movement and excercise affects the size and memory capacity of their hippocampus. The hippocampus is an area of the brain primarily associated with memory and learning.
- Draganski and Gaser observed an increased number of neurons in the hippocampus of humans in a controlled excercise program.
- Art Kramer and his colleagues at the University of Illinois and the University of Pittsburgh discovered that " higher fit people have a bigger hippocampus." They concluded that more tissue in the hippocampus equates with increased ability in certain types of memory.
#7 STRENGTHENS SOCIAL CONFIDENCE
- Fascinating new research reports that a baby's brain develops through bilateral cross patterning movements like swimming, crawaling and walking.
- The more cross patterning movements, the more nerve fibers develop in the corpus callosum in the brain. The corpus callosum facilitates communication, feedback and modulation from one side of the brain to the other.
- Cross patterning movements like swimming activate both cerebral hemispheres and all 4 lobes of the brain simultaneously, which can result in heightened cognition and increase ease of learning.
- Good communication in the cerebral hemispheres leads to overall efficiency in brain processes, while poor interaction slows down language development and academic learning.
#8 ENHANCES NEUROLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT
- In a longitudinal study, Dr. Liselott Diem and her colleagues reported that children who had taken part in baby swimming lessons from the age of 2 months to 4 years were better adapted to new situations and had more self confidence and independence than non-swimmers.
- Swim class has abundant opportunities to share space with other children and to explore movement together. The child cooperates within a social structure to learn by obseving and mimicking.
- Feeling special, loved and wanted builds self-esteem through a a sense of belonging. "Being part of a group also contributes to the child's social development.'
- The child experiences a great deal of tactile stimulation from the water resistance over the entire body while swimming which encourages neurological development.
- Results of research by Dr. Ruth Rice revealed that infants made "significant gains in neurological development, weight gain and mental development" from the tactile stimulation of the nerve pathways of the skin and vestibular nerve cells.
- Water has over 600 times the resistance of air. Tactile experiences and interactions in the water are important for overall neural organization.
- Ayers J. Sensory Intergration and the Child. Los Angeles, CA. : Western Psychological Services;1991: pp.1-67
- Brenner R.A. Gitanjali S.T., Haynie D.L., Trumble A.C., Qian C., Klinger R.M., Klebanoff M.A., Association Between Swimming Lessons and Drowning in Childhood: A case controlstudy. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 2009; 163(3):203-210
- Connell G., Todd A., Reference Manuel for Early Childhood in Water. Auckland, New Zealand: Swimming New Zealand; 2007.
- Dennison P.E. "Massage the Brain-Button and Learn." Newsmagazine, Online-www.ehostvgw3.epnet.com/fulltext.aspresultSetld=R00000002&hitnum=5&booleanTer.
- Diem, Undeutsch, Lehr, Olbrich, "Early Motor Stimulation and Personal Development: a study of four to six year old German Children." Extract by Editor. Swimming World 21 (12):14, 1980
- Draganski B., Gaser C., "Changes in Gray Matter Induced by Training." Nature 427;2004:pp.311-312.
- Field T., Scafidi F., Scanaberg S., "Message of Preterm Newborns to Improve Growth and Development." Pediatric Nursing.; 13: 385-387.
- German Sports College Cologne, "Baby Swimming: Advance Independence and Development of Intelligence." World Aquuatic Babies and Children Network, online-www.wabc.com: 1979.
- Hannaford C. Smart Moves. Arlington, Virgina, Great Ocean Publishers; 1995.
- Healthmade Magazine, "The Benefits for Swimming Especially for Children-The Function to teach Swimming to Infants." March 8, 2011.
- Jorgensen R., Grootenboer P., Funnell B., "Early Years Swimming Research Project at Griffith University." Splash Magazine; July 19,2011. online-http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/470251/early-year-swim-interim-report-2012.pdf
- 1Kramer A.F., Erickson K.I., Colcumbe S.J., "Excercise, Cognition and the Aging Brain." Journal of Applied Physiology; 2009; pp. 101, 1243-1251.
- Rice R., "Neurophysiological Development in Premature Neonate Following Stimulation." Developmental Psychology, 13; 69-76, 1977.
- Rosengren L.,Baby Swim: The Beginning of a Life Long Adventure. Uppsala, Sweden. Uppsala Publishing house; 2004.
- Sigmundsson H., Hopkins B. "Baby Swimming Exploring the Effects of Early Intervention on Subsequent Motor Abilities." Child: Care, Health and Development, Science Daily 210, 36 (3): 428 DOL:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2009.00990.x. May 7, 2010.
- Whitehead, L.E. Move and Learn: The Power of Movement.Raleigh, North Carolina. Lulu Press, 2008.
- Whitehead L.E. Movement: The Keys to Early Learning. Raleigh, North Carolina. Lulu Press, 2010.
- Yang L. Nong ll,Li CL,Feng OM, Lo SK "Risk factors for childhood drowning in rual regions of a developing country: a case-control study." Injury Prevention 2, 13(3): 178-182.
- Zelazo P.R., Weiss M.J., "Infant Swimming Behaviors: Cognitive Control and Influence of Experience." Journal of Cognitive Development 7 (1); 2006: pp. 1-25
- Whitehead L., "Scientific Benefits of a Baby Swim Lessons." Mesa, Arizona.